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Spring City, Tennessee
Location of Spring City, Tennessee
Location of Spring City, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Rhea
 • Total 2.5 sq mi (6.4 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
761 ft (232 m)
 • Total 1,981
 • Density 829.9/sq mi (320.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
37337, 37381
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-70400
GNIS feature ID 1303755

Spring City is a town in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census and 1,981 at the 2010 census. The town is located along Watts Bar Lake, and Watts Bar Dam and the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station are nearby.


Spring City began as a stop along the Cincinnati Southern Railroad in the 1870s. The town was originally named "Rheaville," but nearby Rhea Springs, an older community the railroad had bypassed, objected to the name, so the name "Spring City" was chosen instead. Spring City thrived as a railroad shipping hub during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its first depot, a simple wooden building constructed in 1879, burned in 1892, and was replaced by a larger one. This second depot was in turn replaced by the current depot, which was completed by the Southern Railway in 1909.

Spring City Depot, completed in 1909

The city received an economic boost in 1942 with the Tennessee Valley Authority's completion of Watts Bar Dam and its associated reservoir southeast of the town. That same year saw the completion of the Watts Bar Fossil Plant, TVA's first coal-fired plant. In 1973, TVA began building Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station. Its first reactor, Watts Bar Unit 1, became active in 1996. The construction of the second reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, was originally suspended in 1985, but resumed in 2007. It is expected to be completed in 2016.

On August 22, 1955, 11 schoolchildren were killed, and many others injured, when their school bus was struck by a freight train at a track crossing in Spring City. Sybil Hardaway, a Spring City-based reporter, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her account of the incident.


Spring City is located at 35°41′22″N 84°51′50″W / 35.68944°N 84.86389°W / 35.68944; -84.86389 (35.689422, -84.863885).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), of which, 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.21%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 598
1900 640 7.0%
1910 1,039 62.3%
1920 1,001 −3.7%
1930 1,090 8.9%
1940 1,569 43.9%
1950 1,725 9.9%
1960 1,800 4.3%
1970 1,756 −2.4%
1980 1,951 11.1%
1990 2,199 12.7%
2000 2,025 −7.9%
2010 1,981 −2.2%
Est. 2015 1,995 0.7%

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,025 people, 861 households, and 533 families residing in the town. The population density was 829.9 people per square mile (320.4/km²). There were 974 housing units at an average density of 399.2 per square mile (154.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.52% White, 4.49% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.05% Asian, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

There were 861 households out of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 24.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $27,009, and the median income for a family was $31,894. Males had a median income of $27,692 versus $22,050 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,506. About 15.5% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.7% of those under age 18 and 18.8% of those age 65 or over.

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